Turkey halted intercity buses, trains and limited domestic flights Saturday in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
"Apart from force majeure cases, we are restricting bus travel. We will check all those traveling in private cars and planes. Screenings are being done in many cities," Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told broadcaster NTV on Friday.
Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said domestic flights would only operate from Ankara and Istanbul to certain big cities as of midnight Saturday. He said passengers would need to receive permission from the governor's office after 1400 GMT.
"As of Saturday 23:59, our domestic flights will be carried out from Istanbul Airport and Ankara Esenboğa Airport. Our domestic flight list will be prepared and announced during the day," Eksi wrote on Twitter.
Turkey's state railways authority also said all intercity trains had been halted as of Saturday until further notice.
In a notice detailing the travel restrictions, the Interior Ministry said all citizens must remain in the cities they reside and would only be allowed to leave with a doctor's note, in the event of the death of a close family member or if they have no accommodation.
It said citizens would need to apply to the Travel Permission Council, tied to the local governor's office, to travel. All bus terminals will be equipped with medical personnel to carry out regular checks on workers and passengers, it added.
The minister also said a total of 12 townships and villages across Turkey were placed under quarantine as part of coronavirus measures.
Soylu said the Interior Ministry banned walks and fishing along the seashore and beaches, as well as jogging in forests and parks on weekends, adding that local governors could decide to extend the decision to weekdays.
Speaking on social distancing practices in Turkey, Soylu said that according to the ministry findings, 80% of life has been stopped at the moment.
"While 10 million people commuted with public transportation per day, now it is nearly 10% (of that figure)," Soylu said, likely referring to Istanbul.
Separately, the Health Ministry announced on Friday that all resignations were suspended for three months. It said all health personnel in the public or private sector were barred from resigning in that period to meet the needs of hospitals, clinics and other health centers.
Some 2,069 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Turkey in the last 24 hours, while 17 more people died, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Friday. The country's total caseload reached 5,698 and the death toll now stands at 92.
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